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  3. Have you been let go from your job? Here are the common reasons for termination of employment
Have you been let go from your job? Here are the common reasons for termination of employment

Have you been let go from your job? Here are the common reasons for termination of employment

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What are the grounds for immediate termination?
  • Abusive behavior
  • Insubordination
  • Possession of a firearm and/or illegal drugs
  • Theft and/or destruction of company property
  • Violation of company policies
  • Do employers give a reason for termination?
  • Will getting fired ruin my career?
  • What do I do if I’ve just been terminated from work?
  • Key takeaways

There are several reasons your employment might come to an abrupt end. Read on to learn about some of the most common reasons for termination.

There are two types of dismissals: voluntary and involuntary. Whether you want to take a break, you’ve found another job, or you’ve just won the lottery, you may want to quit on your own. However, the other option is that your company lets you go, resulting in a termination of employment.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at:

  • The reasons for termination of employment

  • What to do if you’ve been served a notice of termination

What are the grounds for immediate termination?

There are two types of terminations: without cause and with cause. While the former lies at the discretion of the employer, the latter needs a reason to come into effect. Here are a few valid reasons for termination of employment.

Abusive behavior

Companies have strict rules and zero-tolerance policies against violence, intimidation, harassment, and sexual harassment at workplace. Violation of these policies may result in termination. If you’re involved in any of these instances, there will likely be an inquiry in the matter, followed by immediate dismissal. Furthermore, a police investigation might be required if the aggrieved party decides to press charges. 


You don’t necessarily have to agree with everything your supervisor says. However, refusing to obey direct orders, obstructing others from doing their duties, and/or a heated exchange with your supervisors could be grounds for termination. The best way to avoid this type of dismissal is to be polite and diplomatic in tense situations, especially if you’re disagreeing with your immediate supervisor. 

Possession of a firearm and/or illegal drugs

Firearms, recreational drugs, alcohol, and other intoxicants are strictly prohibited at work. Bringing any of these items to work or coming to work under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs will likely result in termination. Drugs and firearms pose a grave risk of harm not just to the wielder but also to all others in the office. 

Theft and/or destruction of company property

In most companies, damaging or destroying company property and/or equipment is considered to be a fireable offense—whether the damage was intentional or unintentional. Similarly, theft is not only illegal, but it’s also a reason for termination. 

The rules of theft vary from one organization to another. For instance, one company may fire an employee for stealing a pen, while the other might issue a warning to the employee. However, theft of valuable equipment and/or cash is a serious offense that will inevitably lead to the employee’s dismissal. 

Violation of company policies

Every company has a list of policies and procedures that must be followed at all times. Violating these policies could result in termination. For example, falsifying company records or stealing confidential client data are fireable offenses. Espionage and criminal misbehavior also fall in the same category.

Some companies also have regulations on the use of office equipment. While sending a personal email from an office computer or using the office printer to print a personal document might not be a big deal, constant use of company equipment for personal reasons could land you in hot water.

Employers also keep an eye on each employee’s attendance. If an employee is constantly taking days off and/or showing up to work late on a frequent basis, the employer will take note. Such an offense could lead to termination after a number of warnings from the HR. 

Organizations also have clear rules on poor performance, especially during an employee’s probation period. If the employee does not meet their targets and coaching/mentoring sessions are not helping, the HR may consider dismissing the employee. 

Do employers give a reason for termination?

Under most jurisdictions, employers are not required to disclose the reason for terminating an employee. However, they are required to give a reasonable timeframe for the notice of dismissal, as well as a fair compensation (severance) package. 

Will getting fired ruin my career?

It depends on the reason for termination. If you were terminated without cause or were the casualty of a mass layoff, your future employment prospects won’t necessarily be affected. 

However, if your dismissal had to do with a violation of the company’s policy to the extent that local law enforcement agency had to be involved (such as in cases of physical assault, possession of drugs and/or firearm, or sexual harassment), then it might affect your career. 

What do I do if I’ve just been terminated from work?

When your employer informs you of the termination, they issue a notice of termination. In most cases of mass layoffs, these notices are issued several days before the layoffs take place. Typically, after the termination, you can expect a severance package from the company and, in some cases, a revocation of your healthcare coverage.

Some organizations have unions or collective bargaining agents to prevent employees from unfair dismissal. Read your employment agreement and office policies carefully.

Expert Tip

If you feel you’ve been wrongly terminated from work, it’s best to consult with a lawyer and figure out your options.

If you’ve been let go from a company, you’re not obligated to disclose your termination to another company you interview for. You can disclose this fact during the interview, but you don’t necessarily need to delve into the details.

Need help taking the next step in your career? Let us help with our job search strategy tools!

Key takeaways

  1. There are two types of termination: with cause and without cause.

  2. If you’ve been let go from work, it’s important to understand the reason behind this decision.

  3. Termination typically involves a severance package and, in some cases, revocation of healthcare coverage.

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